“If you seek a pleasant peninsula, leave Detroit”. That should be the State motto, not Si Quæris Peninsulam Amœnam Circumspice, Jimmy thought, as he walked briskly through the streets of Roseville. He looked at his watch, the time was 5:20 PM and the darkness of a winter night had already descended over Gratiot Avenue, alleviated only by a few dimly lit street lamps and shafts of light emanating behind drawn bedroom curtains. Jimmy looked up at the second story of all the houses to see if he could catch an erotic moment. The grim outline of his motel slowly came into view. It was a pathetic sight, all peeling paint and brown hued windows, but it was still Jimmy’s home and it was still Jimmy’s business.

There was a young couple waiting in reception when he walked through. Jimmy held out his hand to the man, “I’m very sorry, I had to pick up supplies and my receptionist called in sick this morning.”

It was a lie. Vidhya, the receptionist, or Vishnu as Jimmy called her, had been fired the day before yesterday after Jimmy found her dipping into the till. The man shook his hand vigorously. He was a sharp-suited man, with confident, imposing body language. Looked promising, Jimmy thought.

“A business associate recommended this place. He said look out for the flickering neon sign saying Harlan’s. I wasn’t so sure, Harlan sounds like the name of a Klan member.”

“It was my father’s name sir,” who had the views of a Klan member, Jimmy didn’t add.

If the man was embarrassed he didn’t show it, “Could we have a room for the night?”

Jimmy looked at the man’s female companion, and boy did he enjoy taking her in; brunette, blue eyes, early thirties he guessed, with just enough make-up to accentuate her beauty without drowning it. Best of all, she had a very guilty look about her.

Jimmy cleared his throat, “Sir, we also rent rooms by the hour if that would be more convenient.”

The man became defensive now, fingering his expensive lapel buttons awkwardly. A man dressed like that doesn’t come to a Detroit hotsheet no-tell. Wealthy men were rarely seen in Detroit period. “A room with a double bed for one night only will be just dandy, thank you.”

“$120” Jimmy responded and took payment, cash naturally. No-tells could be expensive for the discreet service they provide, but it was small change to most stray husbands, and was still cheaper, and less risky, than the MGM Grand Detroit. 

“Enjoy your stay here,” he said with a smile as he handed over the key. The man didn’t thank him as he took his companion off to their room for the night. Jimmy knew that time was of the essence in assignations like this, and The Evening Caller, the name came to Jimmy in a flash and he decided that’s what he would call the video, would want the most for his $120 room. He had put them in No.6. Damn, no hidden video or audio, but he hadn’t much choice as the other rooms were either occupied or too dirty even for adulterers. He would have to make this one old school. 

He went into his back office and retrieved an old and trusty video camcorder from a desk drawer. He pulled over a chair to a spot just below the air vents, stood on it, reached up and removed the grid. Then, with the camcorder strapped over his arm he pulled up his wiry frame and climbed into the vents. It was cold, cramped and dirty as he squeezed himself in, but the thrill of the chase was enough to motivate him to keep going. Recording unemployed rednecks banging their second cousin had got just too easy. This was a promising, middle-class couple who took success as a given in life and regarded sex the same way. 

Dust and dirt attached itself to his clothes as he pulled his body weight through the vents. Dirty air clung to the back of his throat and it took all of his willpower not to cough. He could hear the faint voices of the new arrivals and within a couple of minutes he had made it to the grid. It gave him a birds-eye view of the bed where the couple were sitting together, still fully clothed. He delicately, and as silently as possible, switched on the camcorder and positioned the lens near a gap in the grid. Things were beginning to move fast. The Evening Caller was kissing the brunette and beginning to explore her body with his hands. Jimmy felt an erection growing in his pants as the brunette began to moan sensually. 

Jimmy was jolted out of the scene suddenly when a loud alarm reverberated through the vents. It was the front desk bell. Jimmy wasn’t sure what to do for a second, but a few more violent rings of the bell persuaded him to go back. He left the camera in its position and slid backwards until he was over the grid that led down to his office. He let himself down onto the chair which had been his step up into the vents, almost tipping the thing over in the process. 

Once his feet were back on the ground, he looked himself over in the mirror. His jacket and pants were filthy. While the bell was still ringing, Jimmy quickly changed his jacket with one he kept in his office wardrobe for just this type of situation. The pants would have to wait; hopefully, they wouldn’t be seen behind the front desk. Confident that he looked presentable, he walked out into the reception. 

The couple waiting for him could not have been more different from the Evening Caller and his mistress. A striking blonde girl in her late teens had been ringing the bell impatiently, behind her and very much submissive to her in body language was a boy of around the same age and a face riddled with acne.

“I’ve been ringing this bell for about five minutes,” she snapped.

“I was attending to some business.” He was about to add an apology but decided it was beneath him to grovel to her and the tone of his voice hardened. “Do your parents know you’re out this late?”

“We’d like to book a room,” the boy chipped in.

“Sorry we’re fully booked,” he smirked, “and I don’t accept monopoly money.”

The girl was visibly insulted. “I don’t think you’re taking us seriously. Me and my husband are looking for a place to stay, now if you can’t provide it we’ll go somewhere else.”

“Husband” he was about to burst out laughing when he realized this could get interesting. “Well, I may just have one room available. If you don’t mind waiting here a few minutes I’ll make sure it’s fully ready for you both.” 

He walked out of reception and across to a ground floor room on the other wing of the motel. It was his bedroom. None of the available rooms had recording equipment and he didn’t want to spend any more time in the vents tonight. His room was barely furnished and with plenty of audio/visual equipment that could discreetly monitor their stay. He quickly changed the sheets, removed a few personal items, checked on the hidden cameras and decided this was the room for their stay. He returned to reception to announce the good news.

“You’ll be happy to know there is a room with a double-sized bed just waiting for a couple to jump in.”

“How much?” asked the girl, clearly wearing the pants in this relationship.

“$120 for one night.”

“Are you joking, $120 for this place?”

“I’ll pay Clarissa,” pleaded the boy. Jimmy noted her name.

“Are you going to let him rip us off like that?”

He slipped his arm around her waist. “I’ll pay. I’ll do it for you.” This seemed more appealing to her. She nodded consent and the husband took out his wallet and started counting notes on Jimmy’s desk. “It’s possible we may need the room for more than one night. Do you do a long stay discount?”

Jimmy took the husband’s money off his desk, “I’ll tell you what, let’s call it a hundred for tonight and you can let me know of your intentions tomorrow.” He presented them with their key. “Your room is across the parking lot at the far end of the other wing of the building. It doesn’t have a number, but it’s next to room number 28.”

The husband took the key sheepishly and the couple retreated to their room. Jimmy thought they didn’t trust him, but they obviously had something to hide and wouldn’t last five minutes searching for a hotel on a cold Detroit night. Married, my ass! Oh well, Clarissa and her husband would inform him of their intentions tomorrow and perhaps reveal a little more about themselves in the process. Jimmy, of course, would know about it far sooner than then.


Jimmy carried the DVD copy of the Evening Caller’s sexual escapades in his jacket pocket. It was mid-afternoon and he was walking to a rundown house on 8 Mile to see a friend. In truth, friend didn’t begin to describe what Leo Fontinella was to Jimmy. Fontinella had been a detective with the Detroit PD. He had been widely suspected of taking bribes and beating witnesses but nothing ever stuck to him, ironic then that his downfall came after some offhand comments to a black female cop spiraled into a full-blown lawsuit. He had set up his own detective agency, and that’s how Jimmy met him, twenty years ago when Leo had helped to fuel his father’s hate and voyeurism with surveillance equipment in return for a cut of the proceeds of Harlan’s motel, the most reliable no-tell in Detroit. When his father died suddenly, Leo had taken him under his wing and helped him to keep the business going when Jimmy was unsure of whether he could handle it. But then Leo’s luck went bad, he was stripped of his private detective license after planting ecstasy in the car of a cheating spouse during a messy divorce case. Only the intervention of some of his cop buddies saved him from a spell in the joint. Shortly after that he had a stroke. He was now old and mean-spirited. Every week or so Jimmy took him a DVD of the latest action he had recorded and an envelope stuffed with his cut from Harlan’s. He didn’t have to do it, Leo was too weak now to pose any physical threat to him and he hadn’t supplied him with any new surveillance equipment in years, but he felt obligated to help. Jimmy’s father had keeled over one day watching a Tiger’s game with a Lucky Strike in his mouth. There was nothing he could do for him. He could not nurse or help him, only make the arrangements for his funeral and keep the business alive. Harlan had died before Jimmy had grown up enough to realize he owed a thank you to the old bigot for raising him alone when his mother had walked out after one black eye too many. He had, by default, contributed to his father’s bitterness, and taking care of Leo was the only way of repaying him.

Approaching Leo’s house, Jimmy sensed that something was not quite right. The door was wide open and there was glass on the porch. Noises were emanating from inside from some sort of commotion. Two black youths ran outside, one clutching a small antique box and shouting expletives. Jimmy managed to shout “What the hell’s goin on?” but the youths merely knocked him over as they ran past, not even acknowledging his presence. Picking himself up, he ran to the house, a sudden feeling of dread forming deep in his gut. He had visions of Leo lying dead on the floor, his head a bloody pulp of bone and brain matter. He saw Leo the moment he ran through the door but he wasn’t dead, or on the floor for that matter. He was clutching his forehead sprawled on the couch. Jimmy couldn’t detect any blood seeping from his head through his fingers.

Instead of asking if he was okay, Jimmy could only think to say “Who were those guys?”

Leo got to his feet, “What a bedside manner, I’m fine thanks for asking.”

“Sorry,” he looked at the bruise forming on Leo’s forehead, “Do you want me to get some ice?”

“No fuckit.” He limped over to his computer in the corner of the room. Jimmy had helped him learn to walk again after the stroke. “I’m working.” He began typing with very slow shaking hands on the keyboard. Leo distributed voyeur porn to peepers from Boston to Belarus, Valparaiso to Vietnam. There were perverts out there who paid top dollar for what he had, courtesy of the business Jimmy ran almost entirely on his own now. It didn’t seem to make much difference to his wretched living standards though. Years of legal fees, two ex-wives and a drug addicted son living down in Miami had drained Leo of everything he had. “Have you got something for me?”

Jimmy placed the envelope next to the computer. Leo looked at him and asked, “The DVD?” Jimmy took it out of his jacket pocket. Leo read the label on the front cover, “The Evening Caller, any good?”

“Not bad, he was a bit aggressive though. When the man makes more noise than the woman I figure she’s not enjoying it.”

“I don’t care so much what she thinks.” He gave Jimmy a set of keys and pointed towards a large wardrobe near the couch, “Put it with the rest.”

Jimmy opened the wardrobe with the key. It was a peeper’s paradise. There were thousands of DVD’s, all filmed assignations from Harlan’s motel stretching back more than twenty years. He found a slot for The Evening Caller. His eyes scanned the shelves looking for a DVD that was very special to him. There it was; Beach Blonde. It was the grand, undisputed Mona Lisa masterpiece of voyeur porn that had first got him interested in the art twenty years ago. Leo had brought the video round to the motel. He had filmed it crouched down in sand dunes on a beach that was a noted hangout for swingers near Miami. The blonde had been in her early twenties and her boyfriend, or mere passing companion, looked just a few years older. She was sunbathing when he slowly reached over and began massaging her crotch. Things didn’t move either fast or slow, but at just the right pace. The man moved his hand beneath her bikini, she grabbed his cock. They began with her on top using the beach towel as a bed. Jimmy had never seen anything like it before or since. He could see the blonde’s muscles convulse in orgasmic pleasure. There was no sound but the woman’s mouth was open and clearly moaning in ecstasy as she rode him to an accelerating rhythm. He banished the thought from his mind. The thought of her pleasure was too painful for him now.

“So what did those two black kids want?”

“They came knocking asking to see my collection. Everyone knows I’m the pornmaster ‘round here.”

“Jesus, Leo, what have you been saying?”

“Relax, I played dumb. Told ‘em I didn’t know what they were talking about, but invited them in for a cola.”

Jimmy wasn’t convinced. He had often thought he would be caught one day. It made him shudder to think a guest would find a miniature camera or listening device behind the bed-stand. It had never happened, but the thought that he could be caught because of someone else’s mistake made him feel sick with anger. 

“Hold on a minute, what was the fight over? Why did they give you that shiner?”

“I showed them my pistol. Standard Detroit PD issue. I keep it in my cigar box. I went to fetch the coke, came out carrying two bottles, and there they were with the box in hand trying to get into the wardrobe and my blue movie stash.”

“How did they know about the collection?”

“Don’t worry, there are no loose lips here. I sold a couple of videos to a retired security guard in Warren who moonlights as a drug dealer and word must have got back. Anyways, if something did go missing they could never trace it back to Harlan’s. The interior of every cheap motel room looks the same from here to Tijuana.”

“You still haven’t explained the bruise.”

“I took them on. Whaddaya take me for? I may be old with a stroke under my belt, but I still defend my property, besides they didn’t even get the gun.” He removed the weapon from the back of his trousers. “I took it out of the cigar box before I went to get the cokes.”

The sly dog, Jimmy thought. He was playing a very creepy game with the black youths. Egging them on, but getting ready to fuck them over.

“If they ever come here again, they’ll get this pistol alright. I’ll empty the fuckin clip in them. I’ll give a bellyful of lead to anyone who tries to invade my property.”

Jimmy began to wonder if it was really dread he had been feeling when he ran into the house expecting to see Leo dead.

“Let’s change the subject, I know I’ve asked you this a thousand times but I would really appreciate a spell with the Beach Blonde

Leo gave a big toothy grin. “You’ve never forgot about that Blonde, huh! She was the one that got away from your peeping fantasies.”

“Just let me have the DVD for a short time, Leo, that’s all I’m asking. I do a lot for this business.”

“Forget it. I’ve got customers in Russia and Europe who will pay $5,000 dollars a time for a glimpse of the Beach Blonde. It wasn’t filmed at Harlan’s. It’s mine. There’s the DVD, and I’ve got it encrypted on the web. That’s it. If you’d like to make me an offer?”

“I don’t have $5,000 Leo, you know that. Between paying the bills and giving you your cut, I’m piss poor.”

“Hey I set you and your father up Jimmy, if it wasn’t for me, the closest you would have ever got to sex was 900 numbers, remember that.”

“I’ve had women Leo.”

“Whatever. Now, what else have you got for me?”

“I spent all last night in my office listening to a teenage couple.”

Leo’s eyes lit up, “Teenagers huh? Promising. Anything good?”

“I thought so.”

“Well tell me Goddammit.”

“They spent the night talking about Jesus and planning a wedding.”

“Are you fucking kiddin’ me?”

“No seriously, it’s interesting. They introduced themselves to me as married, but I knew that was bullshit. They’re both from Evangelical families, met and fell for each other in school, but their parents have forbidden them from seeing each other. Some sort of church denominational rivalry…”

“This is all fascinating to me but…” Leo touched his bruise and winced, “what the fuck has it to do with my business?”

“I think you’d find it interesting. I was up all night listening to them. They’re planning to elope, just need $800 to get to Niagara Falls, see a Justice of the Peace and have a honeymoon.”

“Did they screw?”

“No, I told you they’re Evangelicals. Besides, it’s not about the screwing. How many times can we watch anal or blow jobs and it still be interesting? It was a slice of life I had access to.”

“Somehow I don’t think our customers are gonna fork out their hard earned dollars for a slice of life. Do I look like Penny Marshall to you? You get back to Harlan’s and get me something good. Focus for fuck’s sake.”

Jimmy did go back to Harlan’s, but he didn’t focus on the business. He broke with his usual routine and didn’t bother to check the cameras in the rooms where couples had just checked out. He went straight to his office, put on his headphones and began replaying the tapes of Clarissa and her supposed husband. She called him Phil, or honeybun when she felt tender towards him. He was into her big time and would clearly do anything for her. Jimmy had to laugh at their religiosity. They would spend half the night praying in between bouts of dry humping on Jimmy’s bed. She could get very frustrated with his diffidence but that didn’t seem to diminish her appetite for him. He would read to her passages from Song of Solomon while they planned their wedding night. 

Jimmy had been raised without religion. His father had told him that good Americans believe in a White Protestant God, but he had never taken him to church. He was shocked at how Clarissa and Phil’s two families were determined to keep them apart. It wasn’t that they were too young, it was entirely doctrinal. Phil’s parents were Calvinists, whereas she was from an Episcopalian family with aspirations of high society. If he married the girl, Phil’s parents said they would pronounce him unsaved and cut him off for good. Clarissa’s parents didn’t like the thought of their daughter marrying below her worth. A few days ago, they both walked out of the family homes. They had spent two terrifying nights sleeping in Phil’s car on the streets of Detroit before scrimping all of their savings and driving into Harlan’s. Jimmy knew they were broke and hoping to travel to Niagara Falls. He wanted them to stay another night, but he knew they didn’t have the money to either stay or travel. What he feared most of all was that they would see sense and go back home.

He listened to their virgin, adolescent voices filter through his head phones.

“I don’t think I can take much more of this, Phil.”

“Just hold tight. Show some strength. I’ll find the money from someplace.”

“What if our parents find us first?”

“They’re not gonna find us. The next time we see them we’ll be man and wife.”

The bell rang and Clarissa’s voice on the tape intermingled with her real-time voice emanating from reception, “Is this guy ever here?” Jimmy switched off the tape and put away the headphones. He walked out of his office and into reception. Clarissa was waiting at the desk with her finger poised on the bell. Phil was standing behind her, a bag in each hand with the usual embarrassed look on his face. 

“We’re checking out. Here’s your key.”

“But I thought you were considering staying longer? That’s why I charged you less for the first night.”

“Now look…”

“Honey let me handle this” Phil cut in. “Wait in the car, I’ll settle the difference.”

Clarissa scowled at Jimmy as she walked out into the parking lot. Jimmy looked at Phil, “Let’s settle this in my office.”

Phil followed Jimmy nervously as if he was half-expecting a beating. He relaxed a little when Jimmy asked him to sit on the couch while he perched on the edge of his desk, towering over the adolescent. “Ok, let’s start with your name, and I don’t wanna hear a false one either.”

He could see Phil mull his options. He wasn’t going to lie to Jimmy, but he couldn’t afford to be reported back to his parents either. “Just call me Phil.”

“Right Phil, let’s leave money aside for the moment. What are you two doing here? I don’t mean to trash my own brand but I don’t run the kind of establishment which should be attracting teenagers.”

Phil shook his head. “I can’t tell you.”

Jimmy started to think through his own options. His last visit to Leo had been an eye-opener. “If I was to tell you a secret of my own, something I’ve never confided to anyone else in the world and something that makes me far worse a person than whatever you’re hiding could possibly make you, would you tell me then?”

“That depends.”

“I see. Well, it’s this way. You and your girl are clearly not married, but I can spot a couple in love. I was in love once. I was a little older than what you are now. She gave me her cherry, of course I didn’t tell I was virgin too, that might have demystified me slightly in her eyes. Anyway, because I was a late starter, I’d developed a mean porn habit. I thought it might educate me a little. There was a video store down the road, and then when the internet kicked off I had an unlimited supply and an unlimited appetite. My favorite was to watch how couples from other countries did it. Google ‘Swedish couple sex’ and it’s like visiting another country, although the effect was slightly worn off when after a few more Google searches I discovered the same Swedish couple were also Danish, Dutch and German. I was scrupulous never to watch anything with anyone underage in it, I should point that out.”

Phil had listened in silence so far but he seemed reluctant to listen any further. “Where’s this going? Frankly, I find it disgusting.”

“Things started to go bad with my girlfriend. I couldn’t tell her of course, but what was bothering me was I was more interested in the thought of watching us do it than actually doing it. I broke it off before my obsessions got her hurt. She was heartbroken for a couple of weeks at least. I haven’t been with a woman since.”

Phil sat very still deep in thought. Jimmy sensed he was beginning to get through to him. “Now Phil, I have bared my soul to you, will you tell me your little story?”

Phil spoke in a whisper at first, but his voice gained strength as he became eager to disclose all of his problems. “Clarissa and I love each other, but we can’t get married here in Detroit as our parents forbid it. I won’t bore you with the reasons why, you don’t come across as a guy who would be interested in the religious issues at stake. We need eight hundred dollars for a round trip to Niagara Falls to get married, have a honeymoon and return to the world as man and wife. We haven’t got it. Clarissa thinks she can get it, but her Dad has frozen her account. We can’t survive much longer like this.”

“Why Niagara?” Jimmy had been curious about that since listening to the tapes last night.

“Clarissa’s brother had his honeymoon there, and she’s always had her heart set on the place. Her parents are very wealthy, and while she loves me for who I am, I still have to provide her with a certain standard of living.”

“Then let me make you an offer. I’ll give you a thousand dollars, plus refund you the hundred for last night if you do a certain task for me.”

“You would do that for me?”

“Let’s just say I’m touched by your story and having lost the love of my life, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else. What I want you to do is quite simple, there’s a house on 8 Mile I’ll give you the address for. I want you to break in and steal one thing, a DVD by the title Beach Blonde and bring it back to me.”

Phil’s face became etched with alarm. “No way, I couldn’t possibly do that.”

“Considering I’m offering you eleven hundred dollars and the chance to be with the woman you love for the rest of your life I think it’s a pretty good deal.”

“I would rather help you overcome your obsessions. My church runs a program for addicts.”

Jimmy smirked, “I’m sorry but that’s just not for me. Listen, it will be easy. I happen to know the owner is away. Have you seen the houses on 8 Mile? They’re falling apart. There’s practically no security, no locks. All you have to do is walk through the front door.”

“Why would you want me to do this for one DVD?”

“What can I say, you have your Bible and I have mine. Plus, it’s the only copy and it’s very important to me.”

Phil took a deep breath. “Ok, I’ll do it as long as she never finds out.”

“Nope, sorry I insist that she goes with you.”

“What! What possible reason would I have to take her to a break-in?”

“Look at her Phil, you’re losin’ her buddy. If you let her out of your sight between now and the wedding day, she might lose heart and go back to mommy and daddy. I’m not gonna make you do this unless I’m sure she’s with you saying ‘I do’ at Niagara Falls.”

Phil sank back into the sofa. He looked like the last few days had destroyed him emotionally and physically. Jimmy took his hand, reassured him and finally persuaded him to do it. After giving him the address and escorting him outside to meet Clarissa, he walked back to his office and picked up the phone.

“Leo, it’s Jimmy. Listen, I just heard some disturbing shit. Some friends of those black youths were hanging round the motel today. They said their buddies were planning to rob your place again tonight.”


Jimmy paced up and down his office anxiously. Fox News was on the TV. Jimmy liked the local news reports Fox gave as they were the most detailed in reporting violent crime in the city. He had his laptop up and a blank word document waiting for him to send a message to thousands of people on the internet throughout the world. People who had paid to see what went on in the bedrooms of Harlan’s Motel, Roseville, over the past twenty years. He had two messages in his mind to write, one was for if things went wrong and he expected to be arrested. The other was if events panned out as he hoped, and they could expect to have more contact from him.

A news anchor began delivering a report from the city. “Tragedy in 8 Mile yesterday. Police have confirmed that the two teenagers who were shot to death at the house of a former Detroit Police Detective have been identified as Philip Baumgartner and Clarissa Leonard. Both victims had been reported missing by their parents three days earlier. They are believed to have been killed by Leonardo Fontinella, a detective who was dismissed from the Detroit PD seven years ago. Police have confirmed that Fontinella was also killed at the scene from what they suspect is a self-inflicted gunshot wound. An inquest on all of the three victims is due to be carried out…”

Jimmy muted the volume. Relief flooded through his body. He still had to worry about what the police made of Leo’s stash, but he doubted whether they could trace it to Harlan’s. Leo’s computer was encrypted and it would take the CIA to crack it. On his desk he picked up a DVD, Beach Blonde. He had swiped it from Leo’s collection the day before. He had contemplated doing it for years and now he knew Leo would never discover it missing. He put it in the DVD player, and the images that were the genesis of his obsession began playing on the TV screen. It had only been the day after meeting Clarissa that he realized she carried a profound resemblance to the Beach Blonde, and this had affected him in ways he could not fully understand. It had been years since he had seen the footage but the memories had started to filter through to him the moment she walked into his motel. For Leo too, Jimmy suspected, the resemblance had been too much. In his last moments, illness, hatred and confusion had overwhelmed him as he looked upon the corpses of Phil and Clarissa.

Jimmy sat at his desk and began typing on the laptop.

“Dear Friends, a devoted member, some might say father, of our community has died. ‘Leo the Lion’, as he was known online, passed away peacefully at his home yesterday. As many of you know he had been unwell for some time. Before his death, Leo entrusted me with continuing his business. Sadly much of his collection has been lost, but new material is coming into my hands all the time. In honor of Leo I have decided to make his favorite video freely available. Beach Blonde used to be sold for as much as $5,000. For those of you who have not seen it before, I offer it as a gift symbolizing the continued strength and wellbeing of our community…”

Jimmy turned from the computer and watched the video. He realized he was no longer interested in the woman’s orgasm, the visible vibrations in her body or the couple’s perfect synchronous movement. He wanted to know about her. Where did she come from? What had she done in the last twenty years? 

Only God knows, Jimmy thought. Only God knows, unless of course He prefers redheads.

— Steven Powell is the author of five books, including Love Me Fierce in Danger: The Life of James Ellroy published by Bloomsbury. He is the authorized biographer of James Ellroy, and leading authority on his work.

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